Loving Allah

The statement, ‘None has the right to be worshipped save Allah,’ necessitates that none besides Him be loved. A god is one who is worshipped out of love, hope and fear. From the perfection of ones love is to love what the Beloved loves and to hate what He hates. Therefore whoever loves something Allah hates, or hates something Allah loves, his Tawhid is not complete and he has not been true to his testification and has committed a hidden form of shirk. Allah, Exalted is He says, “That is because they followed what angers Allah and hated what is pleasing to Him. So he made their actions come to nothing.” (Surah Muhammad 47:28) He also says, “They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.” (Surah An-Nur 24:55) Layth and Mujahid said in commentary to this verse that it means ‘They do not love any save Me.’

Hakim records on the authority of Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Shirk is more hidden than the crawling of an ant across a smooth rock in a dark night. It’s least form is to love some form of opposition and to hate some form of justice, and is the religion anything but love and hate? Allah Mighty and Magnificent says, “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you…'” (Surah Ali-Imran 3:31)

This is a clear text showing that loving what Allah hates and hating what Allah loves is to follow ones desires, and it also shows that to base ones allegiance and enmity on such matters is a form of hidden shirk. Al-Hassan said, ‘Know that you cannot love Allah until you love obeying Him!’

Dhul-Nun was asked, ‘When will I have loved Allah?’ He replied, ‘When what He hates is more embittered in your view than patience.’

Bishr ibn al-Sarri said, ‘It is not one of the signs of love that you hate what your beloved loves!’

Abu Yaqub al-Nahrajawri said, ‘Whoever claims love of Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, yet does not conform to Him in his ordinances, his claim is false.’

Yahya ibn Muadh said, ‘The one who claims to love Allah yet does not preserve His limits is not truthful.’

This meaning is further supported by His saying, “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you..” (Surah Ali Imran 3:31) Al-Hasan said, ‘The companions of the Prophet said, ‘We love our Lord a great deal,’ so Allah desired to appoint a sign proving love of Him, so he revealed this verse.’

Hence we learn that the testification that ‘None has the right to be worshipped save Allah’ cannot be completed except by also testifying that ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’. This is because if the love of Allah cannot be completed except by loving what He loves, and hating what he hates, and this can only be known via Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him; it follows that loving Allah necessarily means loving His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, believing in him, and following him.

It is for this reason that Allah mentioned loving Him alongside loving the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, in His saying, “Say: ‘If your fathers, or your sons, or your brothers, or your wives, or your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business that you fear may slump, or any house which pleases you, are dearer to you that Allah and His Messenger and undertaking Jihad in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His command, Allah does not guide people who are deviators.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:24) [See the tafseer of Surah  Tawbah for a discussion of these ayat] And it is for this reason that Allah mentioned obedience to Him alongside obedience to His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in many places.

He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There are three qualities through which one experiences the sweetness of faith: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than anyone else; that he loves a person and a person loves him, only for the sake of Allah, and that he detest returning to disbelief, after Allah has saved him from it, just as he detests being thrown into the Fire.” (Recorded in Bukhari no.16-21)

This described the state of the magicians at the time of Pharaoh; when the love of Allah settled in their hearts, and they were willing to sacrifice themselves for His sake, they said to Pharaoh, ‘Decide any judgement you like!’ When love firmly settles in the heart, the limbs will only act in obedience to Allah.’

This is the meaning of the hadith qudsi recorded in Bukhari which mentions, “…the servant continuously draws closer to me by performing the optional deeds until I love him; when I love him, I am his hearing by which he hears, his seeing by which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks.” In some narrations the wording is, “It is for My sake that he hears, and for My sake that he sees, and for My sake that he strikes, and for My sake that he walks.” (Recorded by Hakim al-Tirmidhi)

The meaning is that when love fills the heart and overcomes it, the limbs will then do anything that is pleasing to the Lord. At this point the soul will find tranquility and peace for it will have been obliterated such that it will only follow the desire of its Lord as opposed to its own desires.

Servant of Allah, worship Him as he desires of you, not as you desire of Him. Whoever worships Allah in this latter way is worshipping Him as if on a crumbling precipice: if good comes his way, he is happy; but if trial comes his way, he turns on his heel and loses out both in this world and the Hereafter. When gnosis and love become strong, the person will desire only that which his master desires.

Some of the previous books mention, ‘Whoever loves Allah will find that there is nothing preferable to His good pleasure, and whoever loves the world will find that there is nothing preferable to the desires of his soul.’

Ibn Abi al-Dunya records with his isnad that al-Hasan said, ‘My eye has never set on anything, nor has my tongue articulated a word, nor has my hand struck anything, nor have my feet started moving, except that I first examined whether it was an action of obedience or disobedience: if it was obedience, I proceeded; but if it was disobedience, I refrained.’

This is the state of the elite amongst the true and truthful lovers, so understand this well, may Allah have mercy upon you, for what has been described is from the innermost realities of Tawhid. It was to this reality and ranking that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, pointed when he gave his sermon upon arriving in Madinah, “Love Allah with all your hearts,” as has been recorded by Ibn Ishaq and others. (Ibn Hisham, Sirah vol2, p146-147)

The Key to Paradise by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali Pages 47-54